All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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This past weekend marked my 2nd trip to small town Victoria, Texas – for the second season of the festival there (for which I have served as both programmer & juror – both years) – www.VTXIFF.com. VTXIFF, incidentally, in just year TWO, was recently named on of the “Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee.” See the list HERE.
Here is what Victoria looks like from both the bottom up & the top down.
That red building on the left side of the frame houses Rosebud, the town’s main diner-style cafe. The top image above is the interior of the Rosebud. Here are some more shots:
Last year when I visited Rosebud, I ordered either a shrimp or oyster po-boy & I loved it.
This year, I ordered just straight fried oysters but I found them a tad fishy.
I was there this year with my darlin’ Miles & my old friend, Richard Speight, Jr. Richard’s appearances in public happen to the GREAT delight of Supernatural fans who remember him as The Trickster. Richard has quite an enthusiastic fan base – lemme tell you. It is gratifying to see.
Here is the menu at The Rosebud:
Miles ordered the beef soup special & Richard got the chicken fried steak, seen – respectively – below:
Here they are fighting over me.
Of course, I jest. There was no fighting. And here is a rare picture of me (rare for this blog) – reflecting the results of the combination of the day drinking & late nights that festivals demand of you.
I made the boys pose as models, too.
Some guys embrace that concept with more gusto than others. For example – here is an impromptu modeling shot of my stepfather, Alvan, and our old friend, Tim Catz.
Despite two bad knees, Alvan is attempting a favorite pose of ours that we discovered whilst flipping the pages of Rubber Lovers (A Profusion of Rubber Delights – 1982). This might require some explanation – so – here it is. Alvan worked in a used bookstore in Boston in the early eighties & this magazine was in a large box of books that someone dropped off. I found the magazine. Simple as that. Here is the magazine (which I still treasure):
As you might have noticed, it is issue number seven so there was clearly some demand, in the Reagan eighties, for rubber delights by rubber luhvahs. I can’t begin to imagine the reasons for that and will refrain here from public guessing. More important is the famous pose. Dilettantes can attempt to manifest this pose but they can only ever achieve homage. This guy, the creator, simply nails it.
Never fear, ladies. This pose can be attempted by the fairer sex, too, though I think their poses suffer from the absence of facial hair and the fact that there is zero potential for hanging brain:
Anyway, moving on from the Rosebud & rubber fetishists – I would like to mention Drifters (a divey bar) and The Bungalow, the restaurant attached. Last year, I ordered a beer there with a salted rim:
This year, I had a Cosmo & the new proprietress, Gayle, introduced us to some 4 oz crawfish. Literally introduced us. At the table. To huge, live crawfish. The poor guys were holding their enormous claws up defensively like this guy (image stolen from Google)
and I was instantly heartbroken for them. The next thing you know, Gayle delivered a few cooked ones to our table, for free. I am not sure if they were the very ones we’d met – but I was off crawfish for the day (at least) no matter who they were. Miles & his brother did not display the same compunction & ate the bejesus out of the poor bastards. Pure carnage. A mud bug holocaust. Despite the horror, the brothers declared the crawfish the best they’d ever had. I remain unwilling to devour something that had looked me in the eyes a few moments before, and even displayed survivalist spunk in the face of his own certain demise. 😦
Servers at both the Rosebud and The Bungalow hard sold what they promised were the state’s best fried pickles and, in both cases, we took the bait. It both cases, I felt like I was drinking pure, granulated salt. Maybe I just don’t like fried pickles. Maybe they are tied for best & I am a poor judge. Who knows?
Anyway, let’s take a break from local food & let me show you the amazing Spirit Inn. It is a 12 room hotel on acres of farmland in the middle of nowhere – 12 miles outside downtown Victoria. Look at how gorgeous it is:
Here is the Tim Burton evil-tree forest you must drive through for about a mile to reach it:
Here are a few more shots & pictures of the top floor room I inhabited for 5 days ( I recently discovered the panoramic feature on my camera – so pardon the curved imagery).
Allegedly, Bonnie & Clyde stayed in this house when it was at another location nearby. While there were no outlaws in the house last weekend, there was a motley crew of no-goodnicks. Look at them. Pure trouble.
But shenanigans are what you should expect, I guess, when filmmakers are picked up at the airport in a Hummer limo & allowed to stop for alcohol on the three hour drive.
Here is some cool neon from the drive:
As an aside, let me share with you the hours of fun you can have with the panoramic feature by having someone on one side of the frame run around behind you – on cue – and reposition themselves on the other side of frame. Here is Miles – with zero manipulation to the photo.
And here is my new friend, Stu, pulling the same stunt:
There is a really creepy statue on the grounds at the Spirit Inn, too.
And huge red wasps (photo by Stu)
Speaking of cows, another local restaurant is called Moo-Moo.
As you can see, it is a fried chicken joynt & it was awesome! Here is the chicken & my fried catfish:
Miles & I both had dinner for $13.
The interior is lowbrow & CRAMPED.
The tables are so narrow, your knees touch those of the person opposite you. But the food is fresh & cheap & delicious! GO – if you are in that neighborhood. Below are the buildings directly across the street from Moo-Moo. Local color – so to speak.
Another amazing & cheap option was this food truck:
They had $1 Zombie Fingers (taquitos, really), a $4 deep fried burrito called ( I think) The Flip Kick & they even had a $3 veggie burrito & veggie tacos. Yummy!
Bayside Seafood looked super depressing from the outside (image stolen from Google):
And the menu was just as ugly
but it was all we could find on a Sunday & the catfish & oysters I ordered were great!
Miles was not a fan of the catfish (the only one of four of us to say a negative word about it) – but he enjoyed his loaded baked potato. Miles is a picky eater, so don’t let his review deter you.
Another place we went to (and I went last year, too) is what seems to be the only kinda upscale place in town – The Pumphouse.
We had dinner inside one night at a table of 20+ (image stolen from VTXIFF founder, Anthony Pedone)
That is me, center left, using a flashlight to read the menu because I am a blind motherfucker.
I ordered a soft shell crab but the dim light makes it look like the Crypt Keeper’s hand:
Looks icky but it wasn’t!
Daytime dining is delightful, too. Here is the entrance to the Pumphouse (and one of to VERY friendly kitties that live out there):
There is a river out back & seating by it:
It is really lovely.
Briefly, here are the quilaquiles at Jalapeno’s Cafe:
And Miles having a beer at Greek’s 205:
And YES! There was a film festival! And amazing film festival! Here is my gorgeous Miles with our friend (and fellow programmer/juror), Xavier, in the VIP room:
And festival founder, Anthony Pedone, with our celebrity guest, the legendary actor, Rutger Hauer (which whom I had the opportunity to interact several times):
I worked with Rutger once on an HBO project in 1989 – a film called The Edge. I had two lines but they were to Rutger. Click that link and check out the amazing cast (and directors) in that project. I was in incredible company for what was like – my 2nd job ever.
And here is the theater on the night of the awards. That is Miles & Josh up there presenting the Crossroads Award, which their film PILLOW won last year.
To close up the festival – everybody headed to the only open restaurant, The Olive Garden. The only thing special about that us the fact that we arrived as they were closing & then begged & manipulated them into letting about 60 of us come in. After closing. Two servers left – two cooks. It was very dramatic & traumatic for the staff but they pulled it off without a hitch & I can forever say that I had dinner with Rutger Hauer – even if he was unaware I was at the other end of the table! 🙂
One thing about the Olive Garden – they have an amazing (cost-wise) special that allows you to order one of about 5 selected entrees & have unlimited soup or salad with that. When you are ready to leave, you can take a second entree on that list home with you. So – two entrees & salad & breadsticks – for $12.95! CRAZY cheap!
In closing – I leave you with a final image of my badass Arkansas boyfriend, Miles, as we left the Spirit Inn. Until next year, Victoria! Thanks for the fun & art & hospitality!